A special pre-holiday edition of the primer this week with racing from New Orleans, South Florida and New York to distract you from the start of college football bowl season, decorating, traveling or finishing up your shopping.
If you’re behind on the shopping we can’t help you too much, but you might want to consider a 2020 Thoroughbred Racing Calendar. Still time to snag one and get it hung by New Year’s Day. Click here to buy.
Now, back to the racing. Fair Grounds hosts what it calls the Santa Super Saturday and Holiday Family Day, which features six $75,000 stakes. Gulfstream Park runs the lone graded stakes of the weekend and it’s a good one with top-class sprinters Imperial Hint and X Y Jet meeting in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector. Aqueduct hosts the $125,000 Queens County going two turns.
Here’s your primer for Saturday, Dec. 21. Good luck, be safe and Merry Christmas.
Gulfstream Park. Race 1. Noon. Turf sprint for 2-year-old maidens opens the day. What about Now Is, featured in Phil Gleaves’ Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour last summer. Son of Sidney’s Candy finished on the board in four of eight so far, including one placing in a stakes.
Aqueduct. Race 1. 12:30. State-bred maiden fillies and mares start the card.
Fair Grounds. Race 1. 1:00. Ho, ho, ho. The Santa Super Saturday card opens with 1-mile and 70-yard optional on the main track.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:54. I Love Jaxson didn’t fare well in open company last time and returns at same track and trip for $40,000 tag in optional claimer for Linda Rice.
Fair Grounds. Race 3. 1:58. The $75,000 Letellier Memorial for 2-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs leads off six-pack of stakes. Jeremiah Englehart ships Sweet Kisses down from New York to take on Juddmonte’s Taraz, a sharp debut winner at 1-2 last month for Brad Cox.
Parx Racing. Race 5. 2:13. Keeneland-based Ben Colebrook enters Congrats filly Congrats Answer for 6-furlong maiden.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 2:22. Oh My Papa and Seven Is Heaven, third and fifth, respectively, in similar state-bred allowance meet again.
Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:30. Carpe Omnious, first-time starter by Carpe Diem who sold for $550,000 at 2018 Keeneland September sale, makes debut for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Todd Pletcher from rail of 6-furlong maiden.
Fair Grounds. Race 4. 2:27. Keep an eye on two-turn maiden races like this one. Bret Calhoun, Dallas Stewart, Mark Casse, Steve Asmussen and Brendan Walsh send out runners.
Parx. Race 6. 2:40. Butch Reid entered Monday Morning Qb and Admiral Eastwood for 6-furlong optional. If they both go they’ll be shorter than the 3-5 morning-line price. Only one would still be favored.
Aqueduct. Race 7. 3:18. The New York-bred heats keep rolling. Here’s a 6-furlong allowance with a field of 10 led by Big Engine coming off six starts at Finger Lakes for Linda Rice.
Fair Grounds. Race 6. 3:25. Another good maiden, this one for 2-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs.
Parx. Race 8. 3:34. Isotherm, Grade 1-placed son of Lonhro who finished ninth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, looks to rebound from four off-the-board stakes tries this season in two-turn optional for Chuck Lawrence. He’s coupled with Vorticity, fifth last time behind Firenze Fire in $200,000 stakes at Penn National.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:46. Stan The Man stretches out to 9 furlongs, where he won an optional back in January for John Terranova, in Queens County. He’s 8-for-11 in the exacta at the Big A and should be tough against Major Cabbie, Backsideofthemoon and Han Sense.
Laurel Park. Race 8. 3:49. My Star Potential returned with sharp win last time and takes on older fillies and mares again in 7-furlong optional.
Fair Grounds. Race 7. 3:54. Graded stakes winner Made You Look, a $180,000 buy out of recent Keeneland November breeding stock sale, shortens up to 5 1/2 furlongs for $75,000 Bonapaw in first start for Phil Bauer. If it comes off the grass take a look at Wilbo, who probably goes as a short price.
Laurel. Race 9. 4:20. Liam’s Fire, Security Beach and Order For Porky stretch out to 1 1/16-miles for the first time in 2-year-old maiden.
Fair Grounds. Race 8. 4:23. Full field of 12 for 6-furlong maiden, including $525,000 Curlin first-time starter F F Rocket for Al Stall Jr.
Gulfstream. Race 10. 4:30. Race of the day, the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at 7 furlongs. Not Imperial Hint’s best distance, he’s only 3-for-5 at the trip, but he stands out on class even against the comebacking Group 1 winner X Y Jet. Imperial Hint comes off-back-to-back wins in Grade 1 sprints after finishing third behind X Y Jet in the Dubai Golden Shaheen back in March. X Y Jet hasn’t been out since that effort but loves Gulfstream. He’s 11-for-14 in the exacta.
Fair Grounds. Race 9. 4:52. Older fillies and mares go two turns in $75,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes. Grade 3 winner La Signare ran well in first start for Brendan Walsh in mid-October at Keeneland and returns to stakes company. Multiple New York-bred stakes winner English Soul, a $170,000 buy out of the Keeneland November sale, makes second start for Calumet and Jack Sisterson off good third in the Grade 3 Cardinal.
Fair Grounds. Race 10. 5:21. Who do you like in the Sugar Bowl? Georgia? Baylor? What about the $75,000 stakes for 2-year-olds? Shashashakemeup, Gold Street, Ryan’s Cat and Self Taught all exit good maiden wins while Axiomo returns to stakes company after winning off-the-turf allowance at Churchill in first start for Mike Maker.
Turf Paradise. Race 8. 5:42. Dreamy Gal ventures into open company for $30,000 City of Phoenix after winning restricted stakes last time for her second straight win. Northwest Factor also rides two-race win streak into 6 1/2-furlong stakes, both locally, after shipping from Emerald Downs this fall.
Fair Grounds. Race 11. 5:50. Brad Cox holds best hand in the $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial on the grass with the two from the outside in Factor This and Dox Matrix.
Turf Paradise. Race 9. 6:11. Arizona Moon always runs well on the local turf course – son of Macho Uno has finished first, second or third in 13 of 19 tries – and should again in finale at 1 mile.
Fair Grounds. Race 12. 6:19. The meet’s series for older horses going long on the main track starts with the $75,000 Tenacious and plenty of familiar faces with Lone Sailor, Blended Citizen, Pioineer Spirit, Tenfold, C Z Rocket and Captivating Moon in the field.
Fair Grounds. Race 13. 6:48. Don’t pack up yet, two-turn optional on the main track for 2-year-olds could yield some clues for early stakes in the New Year. All eyes on Mr. Monomoy, champion Monomoy Girl’s younger brother who handled maiden company last time at Churchill for Brad Cox, but don’t discount Race Driver and Lynn’s Map from Team Casse and Sharecropper from Al Stall Jr.’s barn.
Fair Grounds. Race 14. 7:17. State-bred allowance at 6 furlongs closes the card.
Turfway Park. Race 7. 9:12. Apologies for the big gap between races. Hopefully you stayed busy, there certainly is no shortage of sports Saturday afternoon and evening. Stick it out for one more, a 6 1/2-furlong allowance with a big field led by Infinite, Mojo Man and Stay Happy. That’s a wrap.